Finishing the Bible Translation Task

posted by Greg Pruett on April 27, 2015

At Pioneer Bible Translators, we are planning our future growth as a mission around the question, “What do we  need to provide to the Bible Translation movement so that there will be a network of churches using Scripture to grow and multiply in every language group on earth by around 2050 or 2060?” Imagine how different this world would be: Churches and Scripture transforming every language group by 2050! What would that take?

I did some math and made some graphs about the Bible Translation part (see previous blogs). Using non-linear regression I figure we and our Bible Translation movement partners could start all the projects needed over the next 20 years if we keep building momentum at the same rate as we have over the last 30 years. I also think that, following the same curve, every viable language group could have a New Testament by 2063 if our momentum continues to build –which will be a challenge given that our past 30 years’ progress could be called “low hanging fruit” compared to what we have left to do.

There are three elements critical to our success in “finishing” the Bible Translation task effectively. There must be Church and Scripture in every language group, and the one must use the other. We need Church, Scripture, and Scripture impact. I see this taking shape for Pioneer Bible Translators around three initiatives:

  • Translation where no one else will get to it (Revisions and Old Testament translation included where needed)
  • Church planting among the Bibleless, churchless language groups where no partners are doing it
  • Scripture impact where it isn’t happening (including translations that never began to be used by the people of the language group)

Because of the first initiative, we are starting work in the places in Asia and North Eurasia so that we can show up at the party where we are most needed –where the largest number of languages without Scripture are concentrated.

In order to do the second two things, we need two pieces of information that aren’t currently readily available: We need to know a list of language groups of the world that do not have a network of churches. We need to know a list of “finished” New Testament translation projects that never got used by the language group. In the future, we will send Scripture impact workers to follow up those translations to get them used.

We also need to know a list of existing New Testament translations that need revision and a list of Old Testament projects requested by the local church.

That would go a long way to making it possible to truly complete the Bible Translation task as I see it. Not just cranking out verses, but seeing Churches using Scripture to transform lives in every language group on earth in the next 50 years or so. Would you want to be part of this vision? Contact us.

Greg Pruett

Greg has served as President of Pioneer Bible Translators since 2007. He, his wife Rebecca, and their three children served in West Africa for more than twelve years, completing the Bible in the Yalunka language. He has a degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M, and a Masters and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He also has linguistic training from the University of North Dakota and the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics.

twitter: @GregJPruett

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